BY ANNIE-ROSE STRASSER ON AUGUST 15, 2013 AT 5:01 PM
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Thursday made a strong case for creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants — without even knowing that’s what he was doing.
On Fox News, Kasich defended his recent move to expand Medicaid under Obamacare by telling host Neil Cavuto that it’s important for “people who live in the shadows” to have “a bridge so they can participate in the economic promise of America:”
KASICH: Here’s what I think, Neil. Whenever a family — when mom and dad do better, there’s more they can do to help their kids, when the state does better — we’re up now 162,000 jobs, we were down 350. We’re doing better, not out of the woods yet. I believe when you do better you need to reach out to people who live in the shadows and give them a bridge so they can participate in the economic promise of America. So that they can have their hopes and dreams. So we want to have some discipline on the side of people who depend on the government, but we also have to help them to come across that bridge so they can join in the American system.
Kasich’s co-opting of this language might be intentional. But if it isn’t, it might actually further demonstrate the point: People should feel sympathetic for anyone living in the shadows and forced to the margins of society. And his point — that living in the shadows doesn’t allow people to be full contributors to the American economy — holds true for undocumented immigrants. Numerous studies have found that legalizing the undocumented would have huge economic gains. An estimate from the Executive Office of the President last month found that the Senate’s immigration reform bill would increase real GDP by $700 billion in 2023, and an estimate from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that local government and state governments (like Kasich’s) would reap $2 billion per year in tax revenue.